Today we chose to visit “One of the World’s Most Beautiful Parks”, Timna Park, about 30 minutes north of Eilat. For many people, the draw of Timna is the amazing desert landscapes, including hoodoos, dry river beds, massive sandstone cliffs, and even two cute little arches. For us, being spoiled Utah natives, the main draws were the Egyptian petroglyphs and some of the earliest known underground mining shafts. This area is full of copper ore, emplaced hundreds of millions of years ago by magma-heated alternation of sandstone and limestone rocks. The Egyptians send out mining expeditions in the 14-12 C. BC to gather and smelt this ore into useable copper ingots, apparently thus ushering in the Chalcolithic Age (aka the Copper Age) and then the Bronze Age.
My mother always said she would have studied archeology if that had been a choice for her in college. She loves everything to do with old, dead people. (Hahahaha. I’m one to talk, with my affinity for old, dead rocks.) She loves the Egyptians and the Sumerians and Aztecs and the Maya and and and…anything about ancient civilizations. She was VERY excited to visit this park.
Not everyone chose to come. Eva, Gee, and Em weren’t interested, and Bradley stayed home to keep them company. So it was with a smaller group that we set out at 7:30, expecting to spend about two hours in the park. The other group had a relaxed morning, and then used the bus system to get over to a different mall to explore and have McDonalds for lunch.
At Timna Park, you drive yourself around the area and park at various sites. Some of them you have to then hike to, some are within a short walking distance. It’s not unlike Arches or Canyonlands in that respect. Driving our giant van feels almost exactly like a geology van, so I was right at home. There were even (good) dirt roads!
We ended up spending a LOT longer in the park than we expected. LaDonna chose not to hike out to most sites (she definitely went to the Egyptian petroglyphs, she wasn’t going to miss that!), but the three kids and I roamed far and wide. The park was very empty–we saw maybe four different cars while we were exploring–which might have been on account of the weather. Heh.
Hebs in particular wasn’t thrilled with some of the things we chose to do (he got a little sunburned yesterday and didn’t sleep well last night), but decided to make the best of it and we all had a good, if HOT, time. Zee, Hebs, and Yum were total troopers, letting their mom and grandma geek out, each in her own way. I had the most amazing time, looking at the the ancient mines and techniques, not to mention the Egyptian stuff!
By the time we made it to Timna Park Cafe, we were BEAT. Luckily, there was a lovely, almost completely empty lunchroom in which to eat our sandwiches and drink the lovely cold drinks and water.
I’m super glad we went. There was so much for me to learn and think about and then share with my classes next fall! It would be so cool to do a mega-alumni field trip here–Geology of the Holy Land, what do you all think?